Third-longest shutdown drags on (but not in Trump’s hotel)
The partial government shutdown over funding for a border wall reached a milestone Sunday, now tying for the third longest on record with no end in sight amid bitter negotiations. As President Donald Trump insisted that the border wall dispute was a “very important battle,” he also floated the idea that declaring a national emergency would let him use defense funds to start building a wall. The shutdown has resulted in prisoners feasting on steak in front of unpaid prison guards and left national parks trashed and closed, but a National Park site inside Trump’s D.C. hotel was spared: The administration appears to have gone out of its way to keep the a clock tower in the hotel’s federally owned building open and staffed.
Warren asked about ancestry in first question at Iowa event
Well, that didn’t take long. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, making her first campaign tour around Iowa in her possible 2020 presidential run, was forced to address her decision to take a DNA test on her Native American ancestry. Warren in October released results from the test, which showed “strong evidence” of Native American DNA. But her decision had many critics including the Cherokee Nation, which called it “inappropriate and wrong.” Responding to the first question from a Sioux City audience on Saturday, Warren said she wasn’t trying to claim a connection to any tribe. She said she just wanted to “put it all out there” after attacks on her by Republicans including President Donald Trump, who nicknamed her “Pocahontas.”
Man charged with killing 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes
Texas prosecutors on Sunday charged a Houston man with capital murder in the death of Jazmine Barnes, a 7-year-old black girl killed in a drive-by shooting that ignited racially charged national outrage. Eric Black Jr., 20, admitted involvement in the Dec. 30 shooting, apparently the result of mistaken identity, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday. Black is African American; authorities previously had said they were searching for a white man driving a red pickup. In court Sunday, prosecutors said Black admitted he was driving a Kia SUV when a passenger identified as “Larry” opened fire on a car driven by Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington. Jazmine died instantly, authorities said. Washington, 30, was shot in the arm but survived.
‘Surviving R. Kelly’ docu-series comes to a shocking end
Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” docu-series — six hours of footage on the controversial singer aired over three days — concluded Saturday with shocking allegations: that Kelly coerces women to live with him, separates them from their families and commits shocking acts of physical and sexual abuse against them. Part 1 of the series featured Demetrius Smith, Kelly’s former tour manager and personal assistant, who claimed he forged papers for the rapper’s marriage with then-underage singer Aaliyah, who was just 15 at the time. Some celebrities have publicly denounced the “Step in the Name of Love” artist, including John Legend. “I believe these women and don’t give an (expletive) about protecting a serial child rapist,” Legend said.
Colts kick off NFL playoffs with a once-unthinkable win
The NFL playoffs began Saturday with a result unthinkable in mid-October: a Colts wild-card round win. After a 1-5 season start, the Colts proved effective in a 21-7 playoff win against the Texans. The Colts face the high-flying Chiefs in the divisional round. In Saturday’s second game, the confident Cowboys took down the Seahawks 24-22 on the heels of two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The Cowboys also lost receiver Allen Hurns to a gruesome and season-ending ankle injury. Their divisional-round matchup depends on the result of Sunday’s Bears vs. Eagles game. The Patriots will battle the Chargers next weekend after Los Angeles slowed down rookie Lamar Jackson and the Ravens 23-17 in their wild-card game Sunday afternoon.
Contributing: The Associated Press